Georg Franz Burkhard Kloss

Georg Franz Burkhard Kloss was born in Frankfurt in 1787, the son of an army surgeon.

Kloss studied medicine at the University of Göttingen and graduated in 1809. He settled in Frankfurt where for many years he was in charge of the hospital for smallpox and other diseases.

He became an avid collector of books, his chief interest being the acquisition and annotation of incunabula.

Kloss sold his library for unknown reasons via Sotheby & Son in London on 7 May 1835 and devoted the rest of his life to writing a history of freemasonry. The sale lasted for 20 days, although the last remnants of his library were later sold in November 1835 and June 1841.

The sale catalogue was written by Samuel Leigh Sotheby and listed 4623 books, most of them printed before 1537. It emphasised the hundreds of annotations he believed to have been made by the humanist Philipp Melanchthon present in the manuscripts and books owned by Kloss.

However, Kloss only associated three of the items in his collection with Melanchthon, and took a strong stand against what he saw as Samuel Leigh Sotheby's excessive claims.